Palmes Académiques: Roger Wiens [fr]

On April 7th 2016, Doctor Roger Wiens received l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques (The French Academic Palms) award.

The ceremony was organized by the Office and Science and Technology of the Consulate General of France in Los Angeles.

Remarks by Consul General Christophe Lemoine on the occasion of the presentation ceremony of the insigna of Chevalier of the French Ordre des Palmes Académiques to Dr. Roger Wiens.

Dear French and American scientists,
Dear Dr. Roger Wiens, dear Ms. Wiens

It is my great pleasure to welcome you all tonight at "La Résidence de France.” I’m very pleased and honored to present the insignia of "Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques" to Dr. Roger Wiens.

Roger Wiens, you have helped forge strong and lasting ties between the French and American scientific communities. The contributions you have made, to spectroscopy and space exploration throughout your lifelong career in research, are tremendous.

Please allow me to look back at your dynamic career in research, which has resulted in breakthroughs that have benefited scientists everywhere.

In 1988, you received your Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Minnesota, where you studied the Martian atmosphere trapped in meteorites.
Actually, since your childhood, you have an unquenchable fascination with our neighbor, the “Red Planet”; we will come back to that...
In 1990, you worked on the GENESIS project, where you developed the collector of a satellite that was launched to collect particles from solar winds. You have also held positions at the Houston Space Center and the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, where you conducted research on solar winds, comets and planetary surfaces. To this end, you have been a major contributor to the development of mass spectroscopy instruments. It seems that you have always been at the precipice of the cutting edge in space spectroscopic technology over the last three decades.

You are now based at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), but your colleagues are not limited to the borders of New Mexico. You have collaborated with numerous scientists at “Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planétologie” (IRAP) and “Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales” (CNES); especially with Dr. Sylvestre Maurice, with whom you spearheaded the “ChemCam” project. Since 2012, you are the Principal Investigator of ChemCam’s research team, which built the laser spectroscopy instrument – the very first of its kind – that is being used at this very moment by the “Curiosity” rover to explore the surface of Mars. Your insatiable curiosity and charismatic teamwork-oriented attitude is infectious. According to CNES’s former president, Yannick d’Escatha, the ChemCam project catalyzed an “unprecedented mobilization of CNES’s research teams.”
You published over forty joint papers with IRAP, which has in turn given numerous students and researchers opportunities to participate in exchange programs.

These phenomenal accomplishments show the great potential of the French-American collaborations that you and Dr. Maurice have nurtured, and we are all confident that there will be many more successes like this down the road. Indeed, your dynamic duo’s latest creation, “SuperCam,” was selected by NASA in 2014 to be used on the next Mars-exploration rover that will be launched in 2020.

You are not only a top-notch researcher with scientific publications in prestigious journals like Science, but also a writer. For instance, your book, “Red Rover: Inside the Story of Robotic Space Exploration, from Genesis to the Mars Rover Curiosity,” has helped make space robotics more accessible to the general public. Your work has touched the lives of many young, ambitious earthlings who aspire to follow in your footsteps. Clearly, you are a positive influence to the people around you, whether it is on a personal level through your camaraderie or on an intellectual one.

Today, I salute your remarkable career, your wonderful spirit of collaboration and your love of France that is rivaled only by your love of Science. 
I would like to thank you again for your commitment to creating strong ties between American and French scientists. It is with great pleasure that I present to you the Insignia of Chevalier de l’Ordre National des Palmes Académiques.

Dr. Roger Wiens,
Au nom du Ministre de l’Education Nationale, de l’Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche, et en vertu des pouvoirs qui me sont conférés, je vous fais Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques.


Last modified on 08/04/2016

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